Book Review of
84, Charing Cross Road
This charming classic love story, first published in 1970, brings together twenty years of correspondence between Helene Hanff, at the time, a freelance writer living in New York City, and a used-book dealer in London at 84, Charing Cross Road. Through the years, though never meeting and separated both geographically and culturally, they share a winsome, sentimental friendship based on their common love for books. Their relationship, captured so acutely in these letters, is one that has touched the hearts of thousands of readers around the world.
I have heard 84, Charing Cross Road described as a love story and in a way it is, but it isn’t so much a love story between people. This book is more of a love story and friendship of people who love books.
And not just any books. This is a love story of people who cherish old quality rare books.
When I first heard about this book I thought that is was fiction, but it isn’t. 84, Charing Cross Road is the true story of Helen Hanff, New York writer and London used book dealer, who corresponded for twenty years during the years following WWII.
The author loves old rare books, but can’t find many of the books she is looking for in the bookstores in the U.S. The ones she can find cost more than she can spend. So she contacts a used bookseller in London.
The author develops a friendship not only with the book dealer, but with his family and the other employees of Marks & Co bookstore.
The letters go back and forth for twenty years. The letters not only share about books, they share about the ups and downs of life and jobs.
If you love books about books or books about friendship, this is a great read!